My husband and I had been married for 13 years and had been together for 18. We had two beautiful children. I was a stay-at-home mother and my husband had a successful sales career. We lived in a big beautiful home on several acres. We both drove nice cars. We wanted for nothing. But I left my husband anyway. I left him because this wasn’t enough for me. Yes, I admit it, I wanted more. I wanted so much more, and he couldn’t give it to me.
We hear from the time we’re little that “Money doesn’t buy happiness,” and when we’re little, we think, “Oh, yes it does!” When you’re young and struggling to find your way in the world, it’s no fun to live paycheck to paycheck in a small apartment, saying no to social events because you just don’t have the money. Oh, how much better life would be if I only had money! And it’s true. Having money is wonderful. You can drive a nice car, afford a nice home and furnish it with all the HGTV fashions. You can throw pinterest-worthy parties and celebrate anniversaries with steak dinners and fancy vacations. No more Two Buck Chuck, you can finally buy wine from the top shelf. Ah, the life!
But who are you living in your fancy house with? Who are you drinking your expensive wine with and going on fancy vacations with? Do you love that person? Do they make you feel good about yourself? Do you feel heard and respected? Do you share the same life goals? Do they understand your feelings and validate your needs?
Would that wine taste as good if your partner told you that you don’t contribute to the household? Would that steak dinner taste as good if your partner was staring over your shoulder at the woman at the table behind you? Would that fancy vacation be as enjoyable if your partner told you that other women would line up to take your place? Would you enjoy driving your fancy car filled with kids on the way to the zoo, but the seat next to you would be empty because your partner had something better to do than spend the day with his family?
I left my husband because I had to beg him to be my partner. Because I wanted a father for my children. I wanted a husband. I didn’t want a roommate. I didn’t want someone who would only pay the bills. Even though I had a fancy house, fancy car, fancy purses, nice wine, and freedom to do what I wanted. I would have given it all up. All of it. All of it for true love.
I gave it all up. I wanted more. I want more. I want a loving, devoted life partner. Someone to share the mundane daily tasks with. Someone to share life’s triumphs and tragedies with. Someone who I know has my back and I can always count on. I want someone who appreciates my love of baking and cooking and encourages it and celebrates it. I want someone who wants to throw the football with my son and bake cookies with my daughter. I want to be with someone who wants to make family memories. Sit on Santa Claus’s lap, go to the pumpkin patch, pick strawberries, visit the zoo, the water park, the museum. I want to settle into my partner’s arms at the end of the day and know that we worked together that day, each carrying our own weight of this life we have made and we both appreciate each other for our contributions. I want to be with someone who doesn’t desire others. Only me. I want to be enough.
When I think about It, what I want seems too simple. Doesn’t true love encompass all of these things? Isn’t that why we get married? True love. Its so simple, but so complicated. It makes me wonder how many of us have really experienced true love. My experience has made me very cynical, because I thought I was in love. I thought I knew what love was. Romantic love, anyway.
When my children were born eight years ago was when I finally felt love. My heart exploded when I held my children for the first time, and I knew I would never be the same. That kind of love makes you immediately selfless and you know that you would do anything in the world for that kind of love. I didn’t understand why my husband didn’t have those same feelings. When our children were born, we became a family with two sides. The one with me and the children and the one with him. I felt invisible. I felt like a burden. I felt like all I did was bleed “his” money on formula and diapers. I wasn’t fun anymore. I was tired all the time.
What I wished for, at the time, was a husband who stayed with me and our twins at the hospital. Someone who would tell his boss to buzz off, he was a father and he was going to be there for his wife. I had a C-section and I was in pain. I was scared. I was exhausted. I wished for a partner to share in the nighttime feedings and miserable colic of our son. I wanted a partner to soothe me when I fell down the stairs carrying our son, not someone to tell me that I should fear child services. I wanted a husband who thought my post-baby body was beautiful, because beauty is so much more than skin and bones. Later, I wished for a father that wanted to spend his weekends as a family. Taking his son golfing on a Saturday afternoon. But golf was so much more fun with the guys. I wished for a partner to do the Christmas shopping with, to share in the magic of Christmas with me. I wished to be seen. I wished to be told that he noticed me. Noticed my hard work and all that I do for our children and the well being of our family. I wanted him to tell me I was a good mother. I waited.
Then one day I decided I had waited enough. I was done. Yes, I had a nice home, car, wine, vacations, a credit card, but I didn’t have the one thing I wanted the most. LOVE.
After begging for change and seeing no results, I decided to leave. I decided to give up all the nice things I had and risk it for the chance at love. I wanted more. Not only did I want to know what true love was but I wanted my children to know what it is too. I want them to see it, hear it, feel it. So, even when you seem to have it all, some things are worth giving it all up for. For me, that was love.